A Very Complete Opposite
Iris Eichenberg, Heather McGill, and Mark Newport
Oct 24 – Nov 21
Simone DeSousa Gallery is pleased to present A Very Complete Opposite, an exhibition of all new works by Iris Eichenberg, Heather McGill, and Mark Newport.
German-born artist Iris Eichenberg received her training as a jewelry artist at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After her graduation−with a series of work for which she was awarded the Gerrit Rietveld Prize 1994, she taught in the jewelry department for several years, to become Head of Department in 2000. In 2007, she additionally accepted a position as Artist-in-Residence/Head of the Metals Department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and moved permanently to the US a year later. Eichenberg has been leading the Metals Department at CAA into new directions, turning it into a research lab where students learn to give expression to their ideas through the rigorous exploration of a wide range of materials and techniques.
Eichenberg’s own work, extending from directly body-related objects and jewelry to multiples, serial work, and installations, has been shown worldwide, at, among others, Ornamentum Gallery, Hudson, NY, Cranbrook Museum of Art, Gallery Louise Smit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Design Miami, SOFA Chicago, Sungkok Art Museum Seoul, Korea, Coda Museum, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been purchased by, and been added to the collections of, among others, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, and the Rotasa Foundation, Mill Valley, CA.
An extraordinary ambassador of her field and its innovation, Eichenberg travels the world giving lectures on her work, and has taught workshops at renowned art schools and programs, such as Konstfack in Stockholm, Sweden, the Hong Kong Institute of Vocation Education, and the Hiko Mizuno College in Tokyo, Japan. Not necessarily beautiful ornaments, Eichenberg’s works present a unique mode of occasionally disconcerting beauty. Mixing high-tech procedures with traditional forms of craft, some series explore the interdependence of the senses, blurring the boundaries between body and adornment, to foreground the object as experience. Others use archetypical objects and familiar forms, to give expression to the most profound and intense feelings.
“…my interest is to evoke a sensual reaction and to puzzle the viewer who tries to figure it out by the use of their sense perception. Sense mapping is a process, not an illustration nor a representation of the body. But there is only so much I can control. The need to categorize is a strong one and it is a rare viewer who allows him or herself to stay at the point of sensing rather than knowing. I like to work with material or color I dislike. Beautiful harmonious materials bore me. Skin colored panty hose in all their skin types are disgusting, but I search for the point where it tips over and is more than its sum. [….] Words can explain, but I am not interested in explaining. The explanation would be always less than what I hope the work can do. So I try to give hints, open doors, trigger the sense perception and trust the fact that the viewer can always bring more to the work than I brought to it in the first place. I do not want to shut the doors but instead give the notion of an opening.[Excerpt from Art Jewelry Forum’s interview with Iris Eichenberg]
Heather McGill is Artist-in-Residence and Head of the sculpture Department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. She studied at the University of California at Davis and received her M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1984. Prior to becoming Artist-in-Residence at Cranbrook, McGill taught at the University of California at Berkeley and at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.
McGill has received grants for both permanent and temporary installations from the National Endowment for the Arts, LEF Foundation, Ford Foundation, California Arts Council, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. As a two-year Artist-in-Residence at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, she designed a piece that became part of the permanent collection after traveling through Europe. In 1999, she received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and in 2011 the Kresge Artist Fellowship. She has lectured and served as a panelist at many universities and conferences in the United States, and recently as a peer reviewer for the Fulbright Fellowship applicants in 2001-03.
McGill’s work is included in the public collections of Sprint, Albright-Knox Gallery, Fidelity Investments, Compuware, Miami Art Museum, Kresge Art Museum, Progressive Art Collection, Hallmark, Daimler, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts.
“At their heart, the acrylic constructions included in this exhibition are invested in the same questions as my larger sculptural works. What is the “go to,” to decipher meaning of the visual experience: pattern, color, form associations, materiality? This series is constructed using hundreds of laser cut pieces of acrylic in tandem with more historically earnest materials such as gesso and linen. The tessellated surface is created by inlay or embellishment, where each cut fragment is stitched onto a matrix that configures the larger image. Gemlike in appearance these bits and pieces are bright and artificial, cut in imitation of grander aspirations. My imagery is idiosyncratic, a sampling of many sources that contradict a system of hierarchies or a linear narrative. Complex patterning, seductive yet disjunctive coloration and visual burlesque with the viewer are trademarks of my art. My recent work gives authority to artifice, exaggeration and the love of the unnatural. I ask, “Can you feel tender when viewing so much mimicry composed of mirrored surfaces and florescent coloration twinkling in the gallery landscape?” [Heather McGill]
Mark Newport is an artist and educator living in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Newport’s work has been exhibited throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including solo exhibitions at The Arizona State University Art Museum; The Cranbrook Art Museum; The Chicago Cultural Center; and Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, MO. His work has been recognized with a 2011 Artist Fellowship from the Kresge Foundation, grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Herberger College of Arts at Arizona State University. It is included in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Cranbrook Art Museum; The Racine Art Museum; The Arizona State University Art Museum, 4Culture, Seattle; City of Phoenix Public Art, Microsoft, and Progressive Insurance. The Greg Kucera Gallery represents his work.
Newport is the Artist-in-Residence and Head of Fiber at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He earned his BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1986 and his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1991.
“As I fold my son’s laundered clothes, the holes in the knees of his pants remind me of my childhood exploits, the falls that punctuated each adventure and the scars I carry from those accidents. My body and most often the knees of my pants would be repaired the same way: wash then patch (an iron-on patch for the pants and a Band-Aid for me). When things were more serious, stitches might be required for the body and the clothes would be discarded. Even then, darning and suturing leave a mark, a scar. Each pierces the substrate it is repairing, performing a modest violence upon what is to be mended, and reminding each of us of our sensitivity, vulnerability, and mortality.” [Mark Newport]